H.T. Manogue's Gallery of Divergent Thoughts

Black Orchard Night


Prologue


If you're really a mean person, you're going to come back as a fly and eat poop.
Kurt Cobain


Fiona remembered what her mother told her as she chased the pesky fly off her
nose. She looked out her double-wide window in her orchid nursery. Her deceased
mother, Olivia, came to her in a dream shortly after her death, and Fiona never
forgot what Olivia told her. She heard the words again as the large fly played
hopscotch on the bridge of her nose.

“Your life is divided into two worlds. You will encounter people and places that
exist in a different time, and you will know them. Know that all you experience in
those worlds is real. Everyone you meet and everything you do in dreams happens
somewhere at some time.”

Fiona smiled. She started to read a few words from her favorite book. But she was
also looking through the north side window of her three-acre Williamson County
property at three young does grazing on the lawn. She was still reading, but as she
read and gazed at the does, her focus quickly changed. She was distracted by the fly
once again for obvious reasons. She reached for a sanitary wipe and put it up to her
nose as she reminded herself that she couldn’t stand the thought of fly poop
invading her internal organs through her nostrils. With hands flying about like two
paddles in a game of ping-pong, she tried to focus on the words she’d just read
instead of her tiny nemesis. But as she gently touched her nose with the wet wipe,
her ability to dream lucidly took her to another place.


 Instead of seeing the does running into the lush, green Harpeth River Valley woods, she remembered a recent dream. She was leaving Chicago in the 1940s. In the dream, she was riding on a bus to Nashville. She remembered the man in front of her on the bus, but she automatically snapped out of that dream. There wasn’t time for that one now. The fly was back. Fiona put her hand through her hair, and then with the force of a tennis champion, she tried to swat the pest with the back of her hand. The insect
reminded her that she could continue to fight, or she could run without moving,
thanks to her ability to dream lucidly. She pushed herself up from the desk and
went to her mini-fridge filled with bottled water. The fly followed her. She grabbed
a bottle of spring water. The first cold swig gave her body an inner jolt. She went
back to her desk and sat down. The fly was sitting on the desk. She put the bottle
down, picked up her book, and tried to smash the winged annoyance, but the
green-back fly was too fast. Fiona felt the frustration of missing the fly and the
experience of the bus ride. Those thoughts made her a little queasy. Her nursery
was her safe haven, and it was under attack. It wasn’t the fly that was inflicting
most of the damage: It was her endless daytime dreams. Fiona knew she was
caught in two realities, and she tried her best to come to terms with both of them.
Years of therapy helped, but her failed relationships and a strong resentment of
religion made her a prisoner in her aging body. She thought about the recurring bus
dream again. She thought about the people close to her that were in that dream
with her. She had many recurring dreams through the years, but this one, the bus
ride, changed her perceptions of life. She started to think that she was living more
than one life. Her waking life and her dream life were so different. She thought
about Dr. Krabb, her therapist.

Krabb called her dream adventures soul counterparts “excursions,” and she liked that description. The bus ride to Nashville would come back time and time again, but for some reason, that dream was gone now. She saw three young kids playing football. She was a child of the 1960s once again, and she was in England. Her daydreaming mind turned to her childhood and her parents.


Fiona Adi Mistry was born in the small village of Raby Mere on the Wirral
Peninsula just outside of the English city of Liverpool. Her dad, Roger, was a
personnel director for a large oil company, and her mother, Olivia, was a French
teacher at Liverpool Institute. Roger and Olivia were from two different
backgrounds.

Roger was part of a well-respected family from central India. His parents were doctors, and Olivia’s parents were professors. Olivia’s father, Stanley Evans, was an expert in Sanskrit literature, and her mother, Phoebe Altman Evans, was an ancient history and religion professor. Olivia met Roger and his family on one of their research trips to India, when Olivia and Roger were teenagers. Roger’s given name in India was Chetan, but he quickly changed it to Roger when he began his studies at Oxford. His mother and father were Oxford educated, so it was the only school Roger cared about, plus he knew he could see Olivia more. He knew they would marry. While at Oxford, the pair got together every weekend and on holidays. Roger never went back to India to live. Oxford was only 172 miles from Olivia’s home in Liverpool, so she would go to Oxford one weekend, and he would visit Liverpool the next. Roger spent holidays with the Evans, so he became the son they never had.

Fiona studied at the institute where her mother taught for a few years, but then fate
took over. She didn’t know what fate was back then, but she knew now. She was
an attractive little tomboy. Her dark curly hair was shoulder length, and her almond
shaped blue-green eyes sparkled in the sunlight. She was average height, but she
was extremely muscular. Her dad said she got that physique from his side of the
family. She could almost throw and kick a ball as far as her older brother, Geoff
could. She told him that she would, when the time came, play football for Red, the
Liverpool Women’s Club. That dream never materialized. Fee, as the family called
her, was back on the school’s football field, but she was still at her desk thanks to
her ability to dream lucidly at will. In this dream, she was watching her older sister
chase the ball and then attempt to kick it. She heard Geoff shout, “Up the Pool.”
Geoff was a big Liverpool City Club fan. Sarah’s young body was not as
coordinated as Fee’s, so she consistently missed the ball. Eleven-year-old Geoff
laughed and called her a lump each time Sarah missed the ball. Sarah was the
plain, non-athletic child with a very nervous attitude and peculiar tendencies. Geoff
was a tall, skinny boy with sunken piercing eyes and a will to disrupt whatever the
girls wanted to do. His troubling idiosyncrasies seem to exacerbate as he aged.
Geoff’s short black hair stood up at attention around his forehead, thanks to a
healthy dose of petroleum jelly, as he ran after Sarah. His deep-set black eyes gave
the impression that he was always thinking about something devious, even when
he was playing. Fiona always thought he didn’t like to play with them, and his
actions usually confirmed her suspicions. He came off as angry and troubled, and
he was. When the nervous twitch in his right eye started to flicker like the wings of
a hummingbird, a wave of grief was coming for anyone in his line of fire.

As Fee watched the daydream unfold, she saw Geoff come over to her as she positioned
herself behind the ball. He grabbed her around the waist. She turned and looked at
him with her piercing eyes. Fiona usually didn’t miss when she focused on kicking
the ball. She was a natural, and in this particular dream, she was about to show off
her football talents, but for some reason, Geoff wanted to alter the outcome. As she
turned, his right foot locked on Fiona’s kicking leg, and she fell to the ground. She
heard his angry, snarly voice in her ear.

“You’ve got to plan for all sorts of attacks, little girl. Everyone is an attacker in
one way or another.”

Fiona’s focus quickly changed. She was back behind the oak desk. Thankfully, the
fly was gone, but beads of sweat formed on her forehead. She didn’t like to think
about Geoff or Sarah, but she knew her lucid dreaming adventures could take her
anywhere. Her relationship with her siblings was not the best then, and now at 50,
her relationship with her older siblings was nonexistent. She knew early on that
Sarah never liked her. But Sarah acted like she needed her, especially when they
played. Fiona wasn’t sure why her mind took her back to that particular moment in
the past. She thought about that as she looked at a plump gray squirrel having
lunch on one of her ten bird feeders positioned outside of her orchid nursery. She
liked to watch these natural acrobats. They seemed to enjoy the challenge of
finding food, eating it, or stockpiling it for another day. Not only were the squirrels
acrobats, they were food bankers as well. She thought that was why her mind went
back to that childhood scene. Brother Geoff was like a squirrel. He loved to take
things from others. For years, Geoff would prey on younger kids, and then hurt
them in some way.

She remembered how Geoff developed the habit of saving the spoils of his
conquests in some demented way. He kept a journal, and if he took something
personal from one of his young victims, he put those items in the old family
footlocker that sat in his room. He always kept the chest locked with a heavy metal
combination lock. Sarah and Fiona would ask him about the contents from time to
time, but he would always tell them to “bugger off.” He felt his vulgar vocabulary
was one of his greatest assets, and he used it without regret on everyone. Including
his parents. Roger and Olivia worried about Geoff’s language issues, but they
dismissed those thoughts rather quickly for some unknown reason. Fiona switched
her thoughts to her church days and how she felt uneasy about God. The family,
except for Geoff, went to church every week. She was taught that God was the
doer and maker of her life. The thought of God being a man made her sick to her
stomach, but she didn’t know why.

Fiona’s mind wandered again. Her move to the United States was front and center.
The family moved to Nashville the year Roger was hired as the U.S. human
resources director for a Danish pharmaceutical company. Olivia decided to stay
home so the three kids could adjust to this small American city. When the family
moved to Nashville, Geoff was almost thirteen. The move brought out the worst in
him. Sarah and Fiona seemed excited about the move for different reasons, but
Geoff rebelled. The family knew before the move that Geoff could have serious
psychological issues. He trapped twelve-year-old Jiggy Didi in an old hay barn
before they left England. Geoff kept Sarah’s friend Jiggy in the barn for two hours.
He didn’t try to rape her, but he did cop a feel, and he scared her with threatening
comments. Geoff let her go after she promised not to tell. Jiggy suffered in silence
until she realized Geoff would do it again if he had the chance. Jiggy told Sarah
before she told her own parents. Jiggy thought Sarah could help stop Geoff’s
threats, but Sarah knew Geoff would only make her life miserable if she did. Jiggy
didn’t want to tell her parents. She thought they might flog her for being with a boy
in a barn. She was young, but old enough to know that it was the woman’s fault in
her native Maldives Islands when any sort of sexual acts occurred, and she
believed it was probably the same in England.

Jiggy decided to confront Geoff in front of Fiona and Sarah, but Geoff threatened all of them. Sarah encouraged Jiggy to tell her mum and dad. Sarah wasn’t sure what Jiggy’s parents would do, but it was her only solution. Sarah didn’t want to tell her parents about Geoff. She was torn between her friendship with Jiggy and her fear and love for Geoff. Jiggy thought about Sarah’s advice and decided she had no choice. It was a flogging or another attack by Geoff. So Jiggy went to her parents and told them everything.


Fiona felt a twinge of sadness when she remembered that she and Sarah never told
their parents what Geoff did to Jiggy. Maybe if they did, Geoff would have turned
out differently.